Bicester Blue Fins Swimming Club have been promoted to Division One of the West Midlands section of the National Arena Swimming League, only one year after promotion from Division Three.
After six successive gala wins in two seasons, the club is developing a reputation for local swimming excellence as personal best times tumble and club records are broken.
For many years, Bicester was considered a feed to the main local swimming clubs at Oxford, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury’s Maxwell, with the best swimmers attracted by the coaching and training facilities elsewhere. However, improvements to the training programme offered at Blue Fins has meant the development of a strong local squad, with much-improved performances at county, regional and even national level.
Assistant head coach, Bernie Gravett, said: “All 31 swimmers played their part in this closely-fought win. Whether they swam one race or six, they all contributed to this amazing performance, and can all feel proud for themselves and for the achievement of the club.”
Having won the first two galas of this year, Bicester qualified for the final gala at Derby last month, with the club’s 31 young swimmers gaining 10 wins and 13 second places, enough to snatch the gala by three points from a strong Shrewsbury team. That secured the league title and promotion.
When the league starts again in October, the club will find itself competing with some of the biggest swimming clubs in the region such as City of Coventry, Leicester and Gloucester.
Among the winning Bicester team were: Cerys King, Kieran Bird, Tabitha Watkins, Maddy Powell, Melissa White, Lottie Wynne-Jones, Callum Laird, Michael Taylor, Joelly Alexander, Ellie Falkner, William Whiteley, Freddie Ashley-Sparks, Chloe Wanless, Oliver Inness, Alex Pryce, Lucas Davis, Matthew Thornley, Olivia Ashley-Sparks, Ryan Steward, Andy Smith, Francis Varney and Ben Walker. Ellie Bunce and Tom Thornley shared the award for best swimmer of the night.